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    Debrief and Reflection on Kindergarten {Part II}

    April 15, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    Ah, morning sickness. The poetry I could write. The songs I could sing. I mean, seriously. If all goes as it has gone, by the time I am thirty-and-one-quarter-years old, I will have spent approximately thirty-six months feeling like I was going to vomit. {This is not counting the times I got the stomach flu.}

    That’s three years, people.

    And if I make it through this one, and God chooses to allow us to have even more children, I am sure I’ll be adding to the tally.

    Now, this is not to say that each pregnancy was the same. With E., I was able to control it as long as I had a constant supply to pretzels. I think I spent $200 on salty starch during working hours alone! With A., there was nothing I could do and I was bed-ridden for about seven months. Q. was a little better, with me being able to keep up on basic tasks better than with A. And this time is even better. After all, we not only eat every single day at regular times, but occasionally the toilets are clean.

    This is huge for us during a pregnancy.

    I can also vacuum this time without going into labor. God has had mercy on us.

    However, the first two months of this current pregnancy were of the lay-on-the-couch-and-don’t-get-up variety. A woman I know recently asked me how we survived, what we ate, and it dawned on me that I was so out of it I couldn’t quite remember. And it was only like two months ago!

    I have a vague recollection that we ate lots of homemade popcorn and apple slices.

    Scheduling Flexibility

    One of the reasons I am big on a schedule is that our oldest is sort of neurotic if we don’t have one. But the other is because I believe that God is a God of order, and learning happens best in an orderly {rather than chaotic} environment.

    This, however, does not mean that our whole house has to be perfect and our actions must be governed by the tick of the second hand on our clock. I am talking about my philosophy concerning the usefulness of a schedule {or rythym, if you prefer the term} as compared to flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants.

    Perhaps I just degenerate into sloth without a plan?

    With this said, our normal routine of reading for one to two hours in the morning during Q.’s nap was just not going to happen in January and February. One of the side-effects of morning sickness for me is that I have trouble talking. It makes me feel worse. In fact, I tend to not answer the phone and generally avoid speaking to people. My body just can’t handle it. I can’t handle it.

    Thankfully, I am not a very social person.

    Anyhow, we really rearranged reading. Some of it, like our evening reading, either went to the wayside or Si read instead of me. And some of it was moved around. For instance, I would read in the morning until I couldn’t read anymore. Then I sent the children outside and went to sleep right there on the couch, setting a timer so that I didn’t get carried away with my nap.

    Sleep seemed to reset my body a bit so that I could survive.

    Then came lunch. Instead of small-talking during lunch like we usually did, I picked up a book and continued our reading. This was helpful because I couldn’t keep my mind on the chatter anyhow.

    Sometimes, in the afternoons, E. received a Lego or other building project instead of copy work because I would die if I didn’t take a nap right then. {More on naps later.}

    In the end, we were probably averaging a half-hour to an hour less reading per day, but we kept it up at that slower pace, and when we were ready, we went back to our old ways.

    The Importance of Naps

    Repeat after me: The first trimester is for sleeping. Chant this like a mantra. I know very few women who feel like doing much of anything in the early months of a pregnancy, even if they don’t get morning sickness. There is a lot going on with turning a single cell into a person, and it is a bit wearing on Mommy’s body.

    So take a nap.

    Daily. Twice daily. Whatever it takes.

    If I don’t take at least a short nap on some days {even now}, making dinner or finishing the day well is near impossible. Well-rested mommies do a better job. In the first trimester, you probably noticed that I slept in the morning as well as the afternoon. I felt really lazy about this, but I felt even more lazy calling Si on the phone and asking him to spend his entire day’s wages on dinner because I just couldn’t move anymore, or to come home and cook for us even though technically I had the time {just not the energy}.

    My first job is that of wife. Without the naps, I couldn’t do it well. So I sleep, and then try to work hard when I’m awake. This is what works for me.

    Coming Tomorrow

    This is getting long, so I will save the rest for tomorrow. The rest, if you don’t recall, is analyzing what we dropped or changed, what we pared down. I was also thinking about what ended up being more of a seasonal activity than I had anticipated. That might be worth exploring a bit, too.

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  • Reply Brandy April 17, 2008 at 3:58 am

    I meant to tell you earlier that I was impressed by your ability to persevere while working in the first trimester. I have only done that once (while pregnant with my first), and it was SO hard. I only worked four days per week, and I often spent the majority of my day off making up for lost sleeping time. I also went to bed really early in the evenings. πŸ™‚

    I will say that sometimes going to bed earlier can help if you cannot nap.

    I am suddenly realizing what a big deal sleep is for me. πŸ™‚

    Since my dad is probably still reading this, I will say that he once fell asleep on the job, too. During that nap of his, my younger sister cut my hair!

    It’s true. Kids can find trouble when they have the chance… πŸ™‚

  • Reply Kansas Mom April 17, 2008 at 1:53 am

    First of all, I’m very impressed your father reads your blog and the comments! My dad reads a post or two if I send it directly to him. (He’s not much of a computer guy.)

    I was wondering about letting the kids outside, but also just about naps in general. I admit there were a few times I fell asleep on the living room couch and the kids played around me during my first trimester this time around. They were always ok when I woke, but sometimes there was a bit of a mess (cereal everywhere!) and I often found it difficult to wake fully when they needed me. I wondered even then how I’d manage if I were alone all day with them.

    But I didn’t get a nap earlier because I was working. I think napping during quiet/nap time for the kids would be a big help.

  • Reply Brandy April 16, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Gina, Welcome to Afterthoughts. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by and even leaving a comment!

    Kansas Mom, I got an email from my father this afternoon that said he thought you probably were referring to sleeping while the children were outside. And so I felt silly for not getting that! That morning “nap” has been, for me, more of a cat nap. I have found that if I can just grab 15 minutes or so, that recharges me enough to make it to my real nap in the afternoon. However, they are playing in our backyard, which is secured by six-foot fences on some sides and a concrete block wall on others. They are very safe, especially since my older son thinks he is a policeman and the baby is sleeping in her crib during this time. If they seemed particularly ornery one day, I opened a window so I’d be more aware of their activities.

    I only did this for about six weeks, when I felt like I would perish if I didn’t do it.

    Hope that was a better answer than my first answer. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Simply Heart And Home April 16, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Hi. This is my first time to your blog. It is lovely.

    I remember all too well that nauseated state of pregnancy. With my pregnancies, it seemed like the first half all I did was throw up. Oh those were the days!

    Have a lovely evening.


  • Reply Brandy April 16, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Kids are so funny! My children learned some of the teminology early, too. Like nauseous. My current three-year-old had a very limited speaking vocabulary in her twos, and yet she knew how to say nauseous. That was when I realized that pregnancy forms the whole family. πŸ™‚

    I have to admit that I don’t feel the need to worry about them. Part of this is because I keep them in cribs for a really long time. We have two cribs, and this way the older “baby” can stay sleeping in a crib until they are potty trained, which usually happens in our home around age 2.5. (This means that we only have one in a crib right now, but the other crib is ready when the new baby comes.) This has tended to train them to stay in their beds without a whole lot of discipline being necessary.

    However, for a short time my daughter A. did get a bit ornery about going to bed and staying there. It took a lot of discipline to train her to do otherwise, but on my most desperate days I just took my afternoon nap with her. She likes to cuddle and be held, so this gave us some bonding time, even though the nap was a little less effective than my sleeping alone.

    My nephew was another story. He was a big, strong boy who learned how to climb out of his crib very early. He also had some developmental delays and autistic-like behaviors (due to heavy metal poisoning and untreated food allergies) that caused erratic and sometimes dangerous behavior. I wouldn’t suggest this for normal children who can simply be trained, but for exceptional children, a crib tent (which basically puts a lid on the situation) can work wonders. My sister used a tent until my nephew was well over four because she found that being unable to escape meant that he would relax and take a better nap. Being better-rested made him a happier child in the evenings.

    So sometimes we have to get creative. πŸ™‚

    For our oldest child, who doesn’t always need a nap, we have all the quiet activities I mentioned set up in his room. I am trying to transition from naptime to quiet time, a pattern I hope will hold for our afternoons all through our schooling years. We all need a break from interacting. Sometimes, if The Boy is particularly energetic, I do offer that he can go tend the garden in the backyard for the duration of naptime. Since he wants to be a farmer when he grows up, this is a special treat.

  • Reply Kansas Mom April 16, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Did you worry about the kids while you napped? I’ve always been working during my first trimester (three times now) and sometimes napped at lunch time, but we always had someone else to watch the kids. If we have a fourth baby, I’ll be home alone with three kids and think I would worry about the trouble they’d find while I was sleeping. Perhaps the oldest is a help here?

    On a funny note, my son (who’s four) started ending dinner every night recently by saying, “I need to go lay down.” It took us until the end of my “morning” sickness to realize that’s how I had been announcing I was done with dinner! He’d just picked it up from me.

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